Home » 2017

Yearly Archives: 2017

Making Indian science more open and accessible

Making Indian science more open and accessible

Manupriya

Sridhar Gutam is a senior scientist at ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru. He is also the convenor of Open access India, an organisation advocating open access, open data and open education in India.

Sridhar Gutam
Sridhar Gutam   (Photo: Vamsee Krishna )

 

Ever felt frustrated about a paywall stopping you from downloading a paper or disadvantaged because you were expected to pay a hefty amount to publish your work in a journal of repute. To curb this unnecessary expenditure and to make research more accessible, the DBT and DST launched an open access policy that mandates researchers, to submit their research papers in government repositories a maximum of six months after publication. The ICAR and CSIR too have similar expectations from their researchers. However, despite the clear directive, Indian researchers have deposited an abysmally low number of papers in these repositories.

Why has the acceptance been so low? Why are Indian researchers letting this opportunity of making Indian research open and accessible pass by? IndiaBioscience spoke to Sridhar Gutam, convener of Open Access India to find answers to these questions:

Let us begin with the benefits of adopting open access publishing.

Two clear benefits are– it cuts down the overall costs of publishing a paper and more importantly it makes research fully accessible for anyone interested in it.

I would like to emphasise here that there is a difference between available and accessible. Even if someone is able to download a research paper, it is possible that the data is available in a form that may not be truly accessible. Take for example a spreadsheet in a PDF– if you want to work further with it, you have to first type the entire thing on your computer and then begin the work or if you know computer programming, you have to write a script to scrape the data. In open access repositories, data is often available in .csv or other open formats and is much easier to work with.

I can give you another example from a study we did. We found that during 2008–2010, 1833 papers were published from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). All of these papers were available to subscribers of the Consortium for e-Resources in Agriculture (CeRA). However, public access to this e-resource is meagre. As a result the research was available but not accessible.

Why have Indian scientists been slow in embracing the open access repositories, despite a clear directive from government funding agencies?

The first reason I would say is ignorance about the usefulness of such repositories. I have often been asked, “how would I benefit from uploading my work in such a repository”? Once people start using these repositories actively they are bound to generate viewership for papers listed on them. Since access is completely free of cost, with time, more and more people will start gravitating towards it, increasing viewerships further. The number of citations and the possibility of people collaborating increases too as nobody is stopped from accessing a paper.

The other problem is with the way research is assessed in our country. Even today, the application forms that research assessment committees will have you fill have questions like– what is the impact factor of the journal you have published your work in or what is the rating of the journal? They should instead be asking how much of your work is available in open access repositories? How well has it been cited and accessed by people across the globe? It is the impact of research and not the impact factor, that should be assessed. The 2014 Dora Declaration provides guidelines on good practices in research assessment. Though DBT and Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance  are signatories on the DORA declaration, in India, we are yet to fully embrace its guidelines.

Scholarly societies too fall into the trap of impact factors and viewerships generated by big publishing houses. For example, few of the societies hosted in ICAR (I don’t want to name them) signed up to be hosted by Springer. Most likely, this tie-up was fuelled by a desire for higher viewership. The question is why didn’t they choose to be available on ICAR e-publication platform instead? That would have assured high viewership too. Publishing in a high Impact factor journal or with a well known publisher is not the only way of ensuring viewership for your work.

It is in such cases that we are trying to make a difference through our advocacy work. Our attempt is to make researchers and scholarly societies aware about open access policies that can lead to wider dissemination and greater impact of the published work.

There’s also the issue of copyrights. After publication, a research paper’s copyright is transferred from the authors to the publishers. Would it be legal to put such papers in open access repositories?

The simple and legally viable solution to this problem is the ‘author’s addendum’. While submitting their research papers authors can choose to include this addendum which allows them to retain rights to submit their work in open access repositories. Most journals now recognise and accept this addendum.

The other option is to archive the pre-prints– the first draft of the manuscript which a researcher submits to a journal. Again, most journals are open to accepting work that has been archived in a pre-print server. Pre-prints can be submitted to open access repositories. To this end, we (Open Access India) have started AgriXiv– a pre-print archive for agriculture research. It is hosted by Centre for Open Science using the Open Science Framework. However, even for AgriXiv the acceptance has been very low.

I also would like to add that nowadays several questionable publishers are marketing themselves as open access publishers. They usually charge a good amount of processing fee and are willing to publish whatever you submit without peer review. In such a scenario, two resources that can aid researchers in making an informed decision about whether a journal is authentic or not are– Think Check Submit and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

What other activities is Open Access India involved in?

Open Access India started as an online advocacy group on Facebook in 2011. We have grown quite a bit since then in scale and reach. Our members include scientists, students and even librarians. Apart from online advocacy we now conduct webinars, workshops and meetings to make researchers aware of the usefulness of open access. We also run a student ambassador programme, wherein we select students, young researchers and librarians from across India, train them about open access and then help them disseminate the knowledge further.

We work in close collaboration with Open Access Nepal, Open Access Bangladesh and Open Access Pakistan. In fact, we are now hoping to start an open access forum for all SAARC countries to help scientists (especially, early career researchers) in the sub-continent share their work openly and legally.

Apart from the sub-continent, how is the acceptance for open access in the rest of the world?

There’s a definite shift happening towards open access publishing. The OA2020 Initiative, which has been accepted by more than 560 institutions worldwide, is working towards a global transition from current publishing models to an open access system. The Open Access India has also signed up for the initiative. Publishers too have begun tweaking their system to fit in the changing environment. Sherpa Romeo – an online resource that analyses publisher copyright policies– says  80% publishers on its list now allow archiving work in some or the other format. Many communities are coming forward to discuss, practice, and share success stories of the Open Access movements happening around the world.

Thesis Commons launched

The Center for Open Science (COS)  launched ‘Thesis Commons‘, a free, cloud-based platform for the submission, dissemination, and discovery of graduate and undergraduate theses and dissertations. It is built on an open-source infrastructure called the Open Science Framework (OSF) by which the authors can share their electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) easily and quickly.

The COS also launched various co-branded preprints repositories of them is ‘AgriXiv‘, a preprints repository for agriculture and allied sciences which is administered by the Open Access India community.

Thesis Commons has a steering committee of experts and advocates for open scholarship representing institution, library, and researcher stakeholder communities and is backed by COS’s preservation fund, which ensures that all data stored on its services would be preserved and accessible for 50+ years in the event of COS curtailing or closing its services.

For more information on Thesis Commons, please contact Matt Spitzer at matt.spitzer@cos.io

OPEN ACCESS RESEARCH IMPACTS

Notes adapted from Unesco Course on understanding open access :

In an open access (OA) world, much importance has been given to using open source tools, open access resources and open solutions to engage authors and researchers in collaborative research, peer-to-peer sharing of scholarly information and collaborative evaluation of scholars’ works. On the other hand, exponential growth of scientific literature also has led to rapid disappearance of nascent literature before it actually gets noticed by the scientific communities. No single database can capture this over-growing scientific literature. Several data mining tools are probably required to keep abreast with quantum of emerging literature. In this Unit, various tools and techniques have been discussed in details to help the library and information professionals in strengthening their efforts in enhancing scientific productivity, visibility, reputation, and impact of research works of their affiliated scientific researchers. This Unit briefly discusses various conventional citation-based indicators available for assessing scientific productivity of authors, journals and institutions. This Unit also identifies emerging indicators such as h-index, i10-index, Eigenfactor score, article influence score and source normalized impact per paper. The social webs, available to the researchers’ communities in addition to any other groups of citizens, help the researchers in disseminating their produced or contributed knowledge to global communities. Much you are active in social media, more you have chances to get noticed by fellow researchers and possible research collaborators. Many personalized web-based services are now increasingly made available targeting global researchers’ communities, helping them to enhance their social media presence and visibility. These factors influence the development of new metrics called article level metrics or altmetrics. Finally, this Unit also briefly discusses the emergence of the open citation databases for text mining and data mining of open access literature.

 

Commonly Used Terms for Assessing Research Impacts:

 

1.Bibliometrics is a set of methods to quantitatively analyse academic literature and scholarly communications.

2.Informetrics is the study of quantitative aspects of information. This includes the production, dissemination, and use of all forms of information, regardless of its form or origin.

3.Scientometrics is the study of quantitative features and characteristics of science, scientific research and scholarly communications.

4.Webometrics is the study of quantitative features, characteristics, structure and usage patterns of the worldwide web, its hyperlinks and internet resources.

5.Cybermetrics is an alternative term for Webometrics to measure the World Wide Web, cyber media, web resources and hyperlinks.

6.Librametrics is a set of methods to quantitatively analyse availability of documents in libraries, their usage and impact of library services to its user community.

6.Patentometrics is a set of methods to quantitatively analyse patent databases, patent citations and their usage patterns.

7.Altmetrics is a new metrics proposed as an alternative to the widely used journal impact factor and personal citation indices like the h-index. The term altmetrics was proposed in 2010, as a generalization of article level metrics, and has its roots in the twitter #altmetrics hashtag. Article Level Metrics (ALM) Article level metrics is an alternative term for Altmetrics.

Applications of Scientometrics and Bibliometrics in Research Assessment :

In the last sixty years, evaluation of public funded research has been carried out globally on a regular basis for performance measurement of different actors of scientific research. Most of the citation databases and citation analysis tools available in today’s world have functionalities to instantly generate reports and scientometric profile of a scientist, an institution, a collaborative research group, a country, or a journal. Some of the popular applications of scientometrics and bibliometrics listed below can use report generator tools available with citation-based products and services.

 

 For Institution/ Collaborative Research Group: mapping of collaborations, top collaborating institutions, top collaborating countries, collaborating with public vs. private institutions, highly cited papers, highly cited authors, top contributing scientists, top publishing journals, scientists with top h-index, top subject categories or research domains, percentage of cited vs. uncited papers, percentage of self-citations, publishing in OA vs. subscription-based journals, comparative study of two or more institutions in a region/ country.

 

 For a scientist: mapping of collaborations, collaborating institutions, collaborating countries, mapping of co-authors, highly cited papers, top publishing journals, percentage of cited vs. uncited papers, percentage of self-citations, author-level indicators such as h-index, i10-index, etc.

For a country: top contributing institutions, top contributing cities, top contributing states, top funding agencies supporting research, top affiliating apex bodies, mapping of collaborations, top collaborating countries, top collaborating institutions, top contributing scientists, top publishing journals, top subject categories or research domains, percentage of cited vs. uncited papers, percentage of self-citations, highly cited papers, highly cited authors, top scientists with h-index, publishing by public vs. private institutions, publishing in OA vs. subscription-based journals, comparative study of two or more countries in a region or globally.

For a journal: highly cited papers, highly cited authors, percentage of cited vs. uncited papers, percentage of self-citations, top research domains, cited half-life vs. citing half-life, top contributing institutions, top contributing cities, top contributing countries, most downloaded papers, most shared papers, and highly ranked journals based on citation-based indicators.

To read more on the indicators and understanding them better please follow the http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002319/231920E.pdf

 

Course of openaccess by Unesco chapter Introduction to open access @http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/news-and-in-focus-articles/all-news/news/unescos_open_access_oa_curriculum_is_now_online.

A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access By Peter Suber

Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.

In most fields, scholarly journals do not pay authors, who can therefore consent to OA without losing revenue. In this respect scholars and scientists are very differently situated from most musicians and movie-makers, and controversies about OA to music and movies do not carry over to research literature.

OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.

OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered.

There are two primary vehicles for delivering OA to research articles: OA journals and OA archives or repositories.

OA archives or repositories do not perform peer review, but simply make their contents freely available to the world. They may contain unrefereed preprints, refereed postprints, or both. Archives may belong to institutions, such as universities and laboratories, or disciplines, such as physics and economics. Authors may archive their preprints without anyone else’s permission, and a majority of journals already permit authors to archive their postprints. When archives comply with the metadata harvesting protocol of the Open Archives Initiative, then they are interoperable and users can find their contents without knowing which archives exist, where they are located, or what they contain. There is now open-source software for building and maintaining OAI-compliant archives and worldwide momentum for using it.
OA journals perform peer review and then make the approved contents freely available to the world. Their expenses consist of peer review, manuscript preparation, and server space. OA journals pay their bills very much the way broadcast television and radio stations do: those with an interest in disseminating the content pay the production costs upfront so that access can be free of charge for everyone with the right equipment. Sometimes this means that journals have a subsidy from the hosting university or professional society. Sometimes it means that journals charge a processing fee on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or the author’s sponsor (employer, funding agency). OA journals that charge processing fees usually waive them in cases of economic hardship. OA journals with institutional subsidies tend to charge no processing fees. OA journals can get by on lower subsidies or fees if they have income from other publications, advertising, priced add-ons, or auxiliary services. Some institutions and consortia arrange fee discounts. Some OA publishers waive the fee for all researchers affiliated with institutions that have purchased an annual membership. There’s a lot of room for creativity in finding ways to pay the costs of a peer-reviewed OA journal, and we’re far from having exhausted our cleverness and imagination.
For a longer introduction, with live links for further reading, see my Open Access

Overview, http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm.
Peter Suber
Director, Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication
Director, Harvard Open Access Project
Faculty Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Senior Researcher, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
Research Professor of Philosophy, Earlham College
peter.suber@gmail.com

 

Follow the orginal article @

http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/brief.htm

What are Open Educational Resources

There is no one, standard definition of Open Educational Resources. However, the following broad definition of OERs from OER Commons seems to be generally accepted by the community:

 

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-learner. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.

OERs exist within a wider ‘Open’ movement and context, explored below.

The Open Movement

A range of ‘Open’ philosophies and models have emerged during the 20th Century as a result of several different drivers and motivations – including sharing freely, preventing duplication, avoiding restrictive  (Copyright) practices, promoting economic efficiencies and improving access to wide groups of stakeholders. Many of these have been driven by and created by communities that recognise the benefits to themselves, and sometimes to wider groups. Some of these are listed below:

 

  • Open source (relating to business and technology)
  • Open source software
  • Open source hardware
  • Open standards
  • Open access (research)
  • Open design
  • Open knowledge
  • Open data
  • Open content
  • Open courseware
  • Open educational resources
  • Open educational practice

 

Several of these ‘movements’ or ‘philosophies’ have been significant within the education community both in terms of research and learning & teaching (particularly educational technology). Whilst it is widely expected that sharing and openness would bring benefits to some stakeholders in the educational community, traditional cultures and practices, managerial approaches and processes, and perceived legal complexities have been identified as barriers to sharing both within and across institutions. (refs: CD LOR, TRUST DR, Sharing e-learning content, Good Intentions report)

 

Whilst the terms ‘Open content’ and ‘Open courseware’ are sometimes used to mean the wide range of resources to support learning and teaching, one is fairly broad and the other very specific. We have chosen to use the term Open Educational Resources (OER) as this relates to resources that are specifically licenced to be used and re-used in an educational context.

 

What are educational resources?  

Whilst purely informational content has a significant role in learning and teaching, it is helpful to consider learning resources by their levels of granularity and to focus on the degree to which information content is embedded within a learning activity:

 

  • Digital assets – normally a single file (e.g. an image, video or audio clip), sometimes called a ‘raw media asset’;
  • Information objects – a structured aggregation of digital assets, designed purely to present information;
  • Learning objects – an aggregation of one or more digital assets which represents an educationally meaningful stand-alone unit;
  • Learning activities – tasks involving interactions with information to attain a specific learning outcome;
  • Learning design – structured sequences of information and activities to promote learning.

 

(adapted from Littlejohn, A., Falconer, I. and McGill, L. (2008) ‘Characterising effective eLearning resources’. Computers & Education, 50 (3), pp. 757-771.)

 

What are open educational resources?

The following definitions and examples are taken from a paper prepared by Li Yuan at JISC CETIS in 2008 concerning the state of open educational resources internationally. This well-received paper can be accessed from the CETIS website.

 

The term Open Educational Resources (OER) was first introduced at a conference hosted by UNESCO in 2000 and was promoted in the context of providing free access to educational resources on a global scale. As mentioned above, there is no authoritatively accredited definition for the term OER at present, with the OECD preferring, ‘digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research’ (OECD, 2007). Stephen Downes presents a useful overview of what Open Educational Resources are in Open Education: Projects and Potential.

 

“Engagement with OER can be light touch. New staff should be encouraged to source open materials when creating new educational materials (from CC resources or other OER), and to fully reference all other assets in their teaching materials. An academic’s own digital assets such as images, pod casts and video can be released under a CC licence to web 2.0.” GEES Project final report

 

OER initiatives aspire to provide open access to high-quality education resources on a global scale. From large institution-based or institution-supported initiatives to numerous small-scale activities, the number of OER related programmes and projects has been growing quickly within the past few years.

 

According to OECD in 2007, there are materials from more than 3000 open access courses (open courseware) currently available from over 300 universities worldwide:

 

  • In the United States resources from thousands of courses have been made available by university-based projects, such as MIT OpenCourseWare and Rice University’s Connexions project: (http://ocw.mit.edu/, http://cnx.rice.edu/ )

 

  • In China, materials from 750 courses have been made available by 222 university members of the China Open Resources for Education (CORE) consortium.(http://www.core.org.cn/en/).

 

  • In Japan, resources from more than 400 courses have been made available by the19 member universities of the Japanese OCW Consortium. (http://www.jocw.jp/).

 

  • In France, 800 educational resources from around 100 teaching units have been made available by the 11 member universities of the ParisTech OCW project. (http://graduateschool.paristech.org/).

 

  • In Ireland, universities received government funding to build open access institutional repositories and to develop a federated harvesting and discovery service via a national portal. It is intended that this collaboration will be expanded to embrace all Irish research institutions. (http://www.irel-open.ie/).

 

  • And in the UK, the Open University has released a range of its distance learning materials via the OpenLearn project (http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/), and over 80 UKOER projects have released many resources (via Jorum) which are used to support teaching in institutions and across a range of subject areas.

 

For a more visual explanation of Open Educational Resources look at Stephen Downes’ presentation on Slideshare.

 

For more /Original article,Please read at the link below :https://openeducationalresources.pbworks.com/w/page/24836860/What%20are%20Open%20Educational%20Resources

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.